It’s shaping up to be quite a big week on the forefront of equality. California, New Jersey, New York, Iowa, and Mike Huckabee are all covered briefly below.

IN CALIFORNIA NEWS…ORANGE COUNTY’S CONSERVATIVE LAW SCHOOL DEAN FILES A BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF PROP 8

eastman1So you remember me writing about Chapman Law School’s Dean Eastman and his financial support of Prop 8, the Dean’s endorsement of “Yes on 8” tables in the lobby, and his law school’s frighteningly biased “symposium” on the topic (no seriously, the “lawyer” from BYU, Scott Loveless, called gay people child molesters, and Eastman responded by telling the OC Register he was pleased with the “civil debate”—WTF?).

John has now submitted an official letter (amicus curiae) to the CA Supreme Court urging them to uphold Prop 8. He is joined by the likes of the “Kingdom of Heaven” who filed a brief “demanding the Almighty Eternal Creator’s Law and the State of California Constitutional Amendment: Marriage Between One Man and One Woman Stay In.” The “Kingdom’s” conclusion is as follows:

heiress

Yikes. Separate Church and Hate, I thought you may find that interesting.

TODAY IN IOWA

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments in an appeal case over same gender marriage. In 2007, a district court ruled Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. The usual cast of anti-family characters appealed, and the case headed to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, UCLA’s Williams Institute was commissioned to study the economic impact of overturning Iowa’s ban on same gender marriage. The study’s Executive Summary states, among other things, that:

• Same sex couples marrying in Iowa would boost the state budget by $5.3 million per year.
• Approximately 2,917 of Iowa’s same-sex couples would marry in the first three years.
• State expenditures on means-tested public benefits programs will fall.
• Income tax revenues will rise when same-sex couples file jointly.
• Inheritance tax revenue will fall.
• Sales tax revenues will rise as a result of new spending on weddings.
• Administrative cost increases will be less than fees generated.
• No increases in court system expenditures are likely…
• The impact on the cost of state employee retirement benefits will be negligible.

Iowa has long been a civil rights leader. The state Supreme Court repealed Iowa’s ban on interracial marriage in 1851, eight years after Massachusetts was the first state to do so, and over one hundred years before the US Supreme Court overturned these laws in 1967.

Lambda Legal has posted a timeline of the current case–Varnum vs. Brien. Iowa has posted the screening statement.

YESTERDAY IN NJ

After being directed by the NJ Supreme Court to provide “marriage rights or their equivalent” to same gender couples, the NJ legislature passed a bill today creating civil unions for same sex couples. New Jersey already had a civil union law, oh wait…and a domestic partnership law, but these institutions were proven to be legally inferior to marriage (Lewis v Harris).

Steven Goldstein, director of Equality New Jersey, told Bloomberg that the vote was a mixed blessing for the state’s gays and lesbians because there was no guarantee non-government entities would honor the decision…and said that providing the benefits of marriage without calling it marriage was tantamount to the “separate but equal” treatment of a discriminated group.

According to a new statewide Zogby Poll commissioned by Garden State Equality, 59 to 36 percent of New Jerseyans support changing the civil union law to marriage equality. So why aren’t the elected representatives, representing the electorate?!

NEW YORK UPDATE

More and more is driveling out about the total caving of the New York Senate over legislation that would support same gender families. Even though a bill supporting gay marriage passed the state assembly last year, Governor Paterson is widely thought to support such legislation, and the democratic party won a majority of seats in the state senate after campaigning for full equality for all families, the party is thought to have acquiesced to demands made by three outer borough dems in a closed door session. One of the gang of new bloggers, Quasisuspectclass treats us to the back story along with seriously good suggestions of what we can do about it. Quasi includes a cut and paste letter to your senator and a link to where you can find that senator’s email address. The letter:

Dear Senator _____________:
By being denied the fundamental right to marry, same gender couples suffer institutionalized discrimination on a scale not suffered by any other group. For the price of a marriage license, state and federal laws provide married couples with over one thousand legal rights and protections. They can automatically make life and death decisions for each other. They can buy and sell property together and inherit property from each other without tax consequences. They can share medical insurance and other benefits with their spouses and their children tax free. They automatically inherit and become primary next of kin. They automatically become the legal parent of a child born or adopted during their marriage. If one spouse is injured or incapacitated, there are social and legal safety nets set up to protect them and their children. The same is not true for unmarried couples even if they are registered as domestic partners or enter into a civil union. Exclusion of same gender couples from the benefits of these rights, resources and protections is discrimination. This is unconstitutional and unjust. I will not vote for any political candidate who does not support the civil rights of all people. I strongly urge you to support marriage equality legislation in New York.

It will take two minutes to copy and paste this and email it to your New York senator. Seriously, go to Quasi’s place and check it out, and while you’re there, check out:

HUCKABEE’S VERBAL GAY BASH

Most of us have seen snippets of Huck’s appearance on The View. Catch up with my story here, and check out more of the same Huck Chuck at Joe’s Place. In the spirit of truth, Quasisuspectclass articulates the question: “How much blood must be shed before we can have the same rights as all Americans?”

Quasi goes on to give us all a stirring reminder of some of the highlights from the modern queer struggle for basic human rights, as well as some of the cruel tactics used by those who oppose freedom and equal treatment for all people. This is a sobering reminder of the violence we face and a memorial to some we have lost in this battle.

From 2006 to 2007 the total number of victims reporting anti-LGBT violence increased 24% with 16.6 percent of all hate crimes reported by the FBI in 2007 “resulted from sexual-orientation bias.” A 2007 study by the University of California, Davis, found that “[n]early four in 10 gay men and about one in eight lesbians and bisexuals in the United States have been the target of violence or a property crime because of their sexual orientation.”

These numbers are staggering considering that the LGBT population makes up around 3% of the US population. Check out Quasi’s full article.

MUST DO LIST

And in case you missed the post of “Must Dos for Equality” activist tips, check out the comments section. Things are getting a little lively around here.

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